School Siting and Transportation

Yesterday’s Oregonian included a cover story on the pressures to find sufficiently large sites for new schools in growing districts.

The story included an aerial photo of the 64-acre Tualatin High School and the presented the debate for small school sites versus the current pattern of very large sites with playing fields, parking, etc.

There is no question that as a fan of compact development, I’d rather see smaller sites – every school I ever attended had at least two stories – located in neighborhoods rather than on the periphery.

What I was most struck by in the story was the amount of space on the Tualatin site devoted to parking. There is now an assumption that high school juniors and seniors are going to drive themselves to school. I can’t help contrast this to our recent experience in the Netherlands, where we learned that students cannot get a driver’s license before they are 18. They have the option for getting a license for a low-power scooter at 16. How much of the land in Tualatin could we save if that parking were replaced by bicycle and scooter parking?

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